Classical music tagging by "work" and other tags : how to access?

I am new to Volumio, after many years with Squeezeboxes+server and with Foobar.

I have a complementary tag : “work” to my classical music collection.
This has been done and updated on my PC with Foobar (and some MP3tag macros).
In fact, it is buit like this : composer / initial work / artist (or conductor) so I can alphabetically list the composers, then the opus, then the main interpret.
But I cannot access %work% with the Volumio standard interface (BTW the old Squeeze system had the same limitation).

I would like to get a plugin which adds other tags to the reading options : mainly “work” …but it would also be convenient if one could choose by others, such as “composer” (I see several demands years ago), “band”, “conductor”, “date”, sampling rate… e tutti quanti.
Is there a developper who listens to classical music ?

Thanks by advance.

“To nobody, except those who will take pleasure here” (Franz Schubert, 1797-1828)

Classical music and tags are incompatible. Meh. I organized my entire collection (to flac, btw) by composer/composition. In some cases, it goes deeper. Bach’s Complete Cantatas (Rilling) are in a folder with the works broken up into digestible chunks. For Bach, the folder order is Bach/Choral/Cantatas/… Also under Choral are b-minor Mass, St Matthew Passion, and Christmas Oratorio.

I have two versions (for now) of the Brandenberg Concerti. The each get a folder under the Brandenberg folder.

I have a separate disc with all my music plugged into a Pi, which is then plugged into my receiver. For now, I find the files under Music Library and I scroll to whatever I want to consume. I say “for now” because this is literally the day I finally set the system up. I have a Denon receiver and was using Heos (bleh!) to pull files from the HDD plugged into the USB port. But Heos’ sort algorithm is whacked. So, in desperation, I converted by myself, rather than wait on my son to do it for me. COVID19 made that impossible since he’s half a world away and who knows when I’ll be able to travel again?

TMI. Sorry. :slight_smile:

Hope this helps. Probably not, but whatev… :innocent:

Classical music has compatible tags, however, but the developpers don’t care, and many possible tags are unused ; among them %work% and %composer%.
…or you have to pay excessive fees. Except Foobar, free :
It is a simple question of logic, classical composers compose …works :wink:

As you classical listener know, albums can contain different works, composers, artists.
When I rip a disc, I fill the tags, among them %composer% and %work%, then I automatically transform it by adding the composer and the artist, e.g.:
Album : “Suites pour deux pianos”
Work : I first manually type : " Suite Pour Deux Pianos N°1"
Then FB “Format to other fields…”, this initial tag %work% becomes %composer% / %work% - %artist% :
“Rachmaninov / Suite Pour Deux Pianos N°1 - Engerer B., Berezovsky B.”
Title : “Barcarolle-allegreto”.

Apart from the acrobatics I have done with FB (and MP2tag) it should be simple to add any “not so unusual” tag to the menu configuration in Volumio.
IMHO, access by “music library” is not enough.

Most of the time, I use the Raspi as a simple DLNA accessed by FB, and have no problem.
But sometimes (travel) I plug a HD directly to the Pi and remote control it with my phone : here is where I want to choose a work, not an album.

I admit that It took me some time to tag my 2TO of flac, but it is worth while, especially for a classical music lover.


It would be nice if there was a place in Volumio’s settings that you could select what tags to include/use/sort/display the music by. I guess it’d be a part of the underlying MPD player.
Or perhaps it’s in the database that Volumio creates/manages for the music collection.

It took me a while to figure out how to set up the tags. EAC made the basic setup easy. Once I got the hang of writing simple edit scripts, Mp3Tag allowed me to get everything just right. One of the problems I had was sorting, since I organize all works as subsets of composer folders and then choose the folder I want to listen to. The solution was to append the track number at the front of the file name. But one of the interfaces I was using - HEOS - doesn’t do numerical sorts, treating all characters as letters (e.g., 10 < 2). And, it ignored leading numbers is tracks. The solution was to lead every track with composer followed by track number (leading zeros necessary) followed by track name.

Seems to work for me.

I agree with you : sometimes it is tricky to sort the tracks by number.
Foobar and MP3tag have some usefull options for that, but it may be necessary to manually write down the tracknr at the beginning of the %title%

“To nobody, except those who will take pleasure here” (Franz Schubert, 1797-1828)

I don’t have Volumio but I’m thinking about making a music server with a Raspberry Pi (also not yet bought). Does this thread mean that Volumio doesn’t sort by composer? I know it’s unusual that any software does but it’s a deal breaker for me, I’ll discount it as a usable option if it doesn’t but I’m open to hacks/workarounds.
I’ve sorted my classical music by folder: Classical>Composer>Work>Conductor (where I have multiple versions of a work). I’ve broken up my cd collection by ripping them and re-writing the tags so album name is now the work, each movement is a track.
eg: Teldec 2292-46449-2 (Berg / Janacek / Hartmann violin works) is now three separate “albums” spread out over three different folders by composers.
I hope this makes sense. Any idea if this arrangement is likely to give me grief if I did try using Volumio?

When in the Volumio application, select Music Library. USB is the only entry at the top of the page. Click on it and it will take you into your music folders, where you can do all your selecting. I don’t know that you can set up queues doing it this way, but that’s not yet been a problem for me.

I suppose browsing through folders is always the fall-back solution. It’s the reason I organised my music that way in the first place.

Thanks for replying

Dunno, I try to digitize things based on physical processes whenever possible. With CDs, I’d find the piece I wanted, organized by composer. Admittedly, at 450GB (FLAC), my collection is not particularly large. I’m not sure if I had 2X the works that I’d do it significantly differently. I made half-hearted attempts at using Spotify but didn’t see a process that mirrored how I’ve been choosing music for 60-odd years. My kids don’t necessarily get it, but at least I’ve lost the CD-changer. :slight_smile: That said, they still think it’s weird I’m still buying CDs just to rip them.

Almost makes me a Luddite, eh? :slight_smile:

Up until recently I was using satellite broadband, 50Gb/month @ £75, extra data cost £10/Gb. Not a chance I was streaming ANYTHING at those prices. EE put up a 4G mast so I have home broadband via them now. I may use a streaming audio service at some point but much of the music I buy is by lesser known performers and they get more money if you buy their music rather than stream it, especially if you purchase via Bandcamp.
As far as Classical music goes, I own nearly everything I want to listen to so why stream? If I buy Classical music nowadays I buy via download from, they offer FLAC files and some of their offerings are Surround Sound.
My music is on HDD, normally I plug my laptop into my HiFi AV amp via a long HDMI cable, which actually works fine. Recently I bought a ROKU, to stream films & TV but I found out about Plex and made a Plex server for my audio out of an old laptop with a broken keyboard. That worked but laptop now totally broken and I dislike Plex so I’m looking to replace the laptop with a Rasberry Pi and Plex with something else, hopefully/possibly Volumio.
Been using Linux since 2004 (Fedora Core 2) so should be able to use the hardware, just trying to get my head around what I need.

I tried Plex for like thirty seconds. A.W.F.U.L. Two or three days into Volumio and I’m really impressed. One thing to watch out for: classical tracks use diacriticals. Volumio doesn’t have language set up. I use an external HDD for the Pi and sync via WinSCP. I had to add language (UTF-8) to locale to get the sync working properly.

I hear you about FLAC downloads. But I’m guessing the selection is limited, and most of the stuff I want these days is tending towards the more obscure. BTW, I’m using a Behringer sound card (UCA 202) to connect to my receiver.

Sernyl: I spent a few days manually editing tracks, and then figured out how to use the actions function to run all the tracks in a folder in a single batch edit. Remarkable tool.

For classical buffs only !

Good idea to make work=album !

Of course one need to first document the work …with FB +/-MP3tag.
That done, it is easy to transform this work tag to “composer-work-artist”, and then move it to the album tag.
BTW, this way, the composer tag is no more needed :wink:

Anyway, you won’t have in volumio+Raspi+HDD the speed and choice capabilities of a PC with Foobar using Volumio as a simple DLNA. (thing that was impossible to use with the Squezeboxes because DLNA was not implemented).
My advice would be to take “some” time to learn and tag the works with Foobar (+/-MP3 macros) …and use Volumio DLNA
It does net keep you from using a simple raspi+HDD, but that is far too slow, compared to the former…
I’ve been testing many other softwares for years : none is comparable to the “flexibility” of FB…


@ Rhoneyman about FLAC :
Most of my purchases are real CDs, and I rip them directly in FLAC with Foobar.
(previously, I had a Vortexbox which did that automatically, but it’s dead)
Downloads : the availability depends on the seller.
I download sometimes at Qobuz and choose FLAC.
BTW 24/96 download looks interesting.

I have not fully understood all of the exchanges in this thread but I did want to add some information. I listen mainly to classical music and to jazz, I use volumio, and I am very happy indeed with the way that combination works out. I gather that you use (mainly or exclusively) flac files for listening. I do also. In organizing the music collection I use metaflac a lot. This is a tool which lets you edit and customize the metadata for .flac files very easily. You can extract existing tags, examine them, change them, correct mistakes (all too frequent in my experience), add to them, delete the ones you don’t care about, and then (if you want) insert your modified and customized tags back in to the .flac file. Exactly as you would like. You have to be comfortable using the command line (and editing text files) to take full advantage of the program, but if you have that comfort-level you can do just about anything you want with .flac files. The program’s capacities also go way beyond customizing tags. Metaflac is free and open source and there are versions available for linux, OSX and Windows.

Thank you for the information. I will have a look to metaflac.
May I suggest that on your side you have a look to :

  • Foobar file “properties” : right click tag, “format from other fields”.
  • MP3tag (whose name is misleading, as it works perfectly with FLAC files) : batch editing, and no need to dive into command lines.
    I have done a full column of “scripts”. They have french titles, but can be useful as examples.
    If you want my MP3tag configuration settings, mostly to document the “work” tag, feel free to ask.

All very helpful but back to the original topic…

All of this isn’t much use when so many music players don’t read the composer tag. Also, I’m sure, similar issues for certain kinds of pop music where it would be nice to sort by producer.


These tag editing softwares allow you to add the composer’s name in front of the album.

When the album contains more than one composer, this is more complex :
1- I create and edit a %work% tag
2- I add to it %composer% and %artist% or %conductor% so it becomes %composer% / %work% - %artist%.
3- For access in Volumio (and most of the music players) you can copy this complete work tag to the album tag. It can be done in batch.

Yes, I’m aware that can be done but it’s a hack and it’s ugly. It shouldn’t be necessary because the tagging specification allows a field for “composer” and I prefer to, and it should be possible to, use it.